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    French Total Starts UK Culzean Field Early

Summary

On stream more cheaply and earlier than scheduled, the field will make a useful contribution to UK gas supplies.

by: William Powell

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French Total Starts UK Culzean Field Early

French Total has started production at the Culzean gas and condensate field in UK waters, it said June 10. With plateau production of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe)/day, Culzean will account for around 5% of the UK’s gas demand, of which 18% will be from Total. The field was discovered in 2008 by Danish Maersk – now part of Total – and sanctioned in 2015.

Total's upstream boss Arnaud Breuillac said the field was on stream ahead of schedule and costing a tenth less than originally forecast, representing capex savings of "more than $500mn. This has been achieved thanks to the excellent performance of the project teams in charge of the construction and drilling operations.” The field is in the Central Graben area, close to the high-pressure, high-temperature Elgin-Franklin fields, also operated by Total, thus generating synergies.

Its resources are estimated between 250mn and 300mn boe. The project includes six wells, three bridge-linked platforms and a floating storage and offloading unit. Gas from Culzean is exported via the Central Area Transmission System pipeline and the UK National Grid whilst condensate is stored in the FSO for offloading by shuttle tanker.

New digital technologies applied on the project, such as the latest smart rooms, will deliver higher efficiency during operations and create a safer working environment, said Total. Being a high-pressure, high-temperature field, it poses challenges. Total operates Culzean with 49.99%, alongside UK BP (32%) and Japanese JX Nippon (18.01%).

Analysts Wood Mackenzie said that, with its 1.4 trillion ft³ of gas, Culzean was the biggest UK gas discovery since Elgin in 1991. “Once the field hits peak in the early 2020s, Culzean could account for more than 10% of the UK’s gas production. Culzean is the third UK project to start production this year, but the biggest by a long way. It shows that there is still appetite for big developments in UK waters."